A while ago, I wrote a short glossary of Dangerous Japanese – Japanese words for cult leaders, serial killers, embarrassing customs, etc. Part of that dealt with war crimes. But there’s so many amazing military terms, they really deserve their own glossary – so here is the
TOKYO DAMAGE REPORT GUIDE TO JAPAN’S SENJINKUN!!!!
(SENJINKUN = 先陣訓 = MILITARY SLOGANS!)
I’m not trying to teach you how to speak like a right-winger, and I'm not trying to Japan-bash about war-crimes, either. So why am I doing this–
- I'm a morbid fuck
- A lot of this shit would be great as song lyrics or t-shirts, so get started on that.
- It’s a lot cooler than those “How to talk dirty in Japanese” books.
- As far as I know there is no easy-to-read-in-one-sitting collection of extreme war slogans. If you like this article, hopefully you’ll read some of the real history books.
A word of caution: Don’t try to use these words with your Japanese friends. Not because they’ll get mad, but because they will have no idea what you mean. This despite going to school until 7 at night.
UPDATE: TORIHADA MINORU'S SUIT!
Torihada (lit. "goose pimples") Minoru is a performance artist – sort of a nazi Andy Kaufman – who works with right-wing symbolism. His uyoku-slogan-covered suit was the main reason I started this article in the first place, but I couldn't find any photos of it online! Luckily my friend Francois not only located the photos but translated them himself. Thanks Francois!
"Let's not ask for anything until we win", or "We don't need anything until we win"
It's to say the people should ganbare and not ask the government for help, but just root for victory. It was the winning slogan of a contest made by the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, won by a 10 year old in 1942.
"rich country, strong army"
A slogan from the Meiji era.
"Turn to the Imperial Palace and bow with purity"
潔白 (purity, innocence) may be separate, as it is on the pants, but I think it's made to end the sentence.
That was the coded message to start the pacific war (i.e. Pearl Harbor)
"Monday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday"
Working everyday, no week-end (Saturday, Sunday).
A motto of the Imperial Navy. There's a song, too.
「貧乏不遇欲情空腹」（びんぼうふぐうよくじょうくうふく）(written twice, to emphasize?)
I'm not sure about this one… A personal creation maybe.
"poverty, misfortune, craving, hunger"
"Die! For your country!"
His name. Full name is 鳥肌実.
"Ah, the honorable death…"
玉砕 = a shattered precious stone
A nice image: better die and shine like a shattered stone than be tarnished.
Used a lot in the good ol' Showa days for people to commit suicide before surrendering, for instance. Forcefully if necessary. (see Saipan)
"Inactivity itself is radical" or something like that.
Possibly to counterbalance the other texts.
"Shoot to stop" Or close enough.
Another wartime slogan apparently. But taken from the 久米歌（くめうた）, an old traditional Japanese song. Hence the weird, ancient Japanese.
"Recruiting Imperial personal guards"
"Hasten to the decisive battlefield, in the air and on the sea"
A personal creation as far as I could tell
「ああ、玉砕」 (seen on the suit)
(seen on the suit)
rock on Francois for the images and translations. From here on out, I'm the writer, so complain to me, not him.
This was originally posted in 2008.
Part one : BLACK SHIPS AND BLACK OCEANS: 1854- 1900
幕府（ Bakufu ） – the Shogun system of government. Japanese have a word for feudalism ( 封建主義 ‘houkenshugi’) 、 but they never use it. If you want to talk about feudalism, you have to say BAKUFU, which is unfortunate because feudalism conjures up images of starving serfs, evil tax collectors, and petty lords raping young women the day after they get married to a hapless farmer. BAKUFU – which basically was the same deal – is a word which conjures up images of noble, heroic Samurai with the swords and the cool action movies. Which, as Karl Rove would say, shows you the importance of framing the debate. Needless to say, I’m a bit pissed : I want to shake Japanese by the shoulders and say, LOOK, CLOD: your ancestors were NOT Samurai. Samurai were like 1% of the population. Your ancestors were the fuckin’ rice pickers that got their heads cut off by the samurai if they didn’t pay the outrageous taxes. . . or if they didn’t bow low enough when the fuckin’ samurai rode by! But annnnnyway.
The Bakufu was chilling for 800 years in total isolation from the world, but — as always — foreigners started making problems. This clown Perry showed up saying, “Check me out, I got hella cannons. What you got– Arrows– Thinking you’re the shit with some arrows, because you can put down a peasant uprising– Dude! Cannons! Guns! Some futuristic European shit with techno beats in it!”
Japan : “WTF?? Did the UFOs take pity on you and teach you their space tech? Last time we checked, you guys were living in caves and grooming each others’ blonde fur for morsels! The fuck–”
Perry: “When was the last time you checked–”
Japan : “800 years ago.”
Perry: “Well,then, sheeeeit!”
Japan : “Aa sounandesuyounee.”
Perry: “So do you want to open up your borders to trade, buying our shit at inflated prices and selling your own shit dirt cheap?Or do you want to trade this cannon ball for your head and facial area??”
Japan : “…”
Is how that went down.
Basically Perry was one of many Euros scouring the globe looking for the next Asian country to turn into a colony of opium addicts. (of course we whiteys are still at this game, except now we are using World Bank “loan restructuring,” WTO, and globalization instead of cannons) Signing the rapacious trade-treaty made the Shogun look weak, and his enemies decided that this was the time to . . .strike!!
The anti-Shogun forces began their propaganda campaign by reviving the old Chinese slogan:
Meaning, To have absolute loyalty to the Emperor. I always thought that SONNOURAN was used against protest marchers or leftists or whatever. Actually SONNOURAN was deployed by competing insiders against the other — each framing their vision of Japan’s future as “What the Emperor REALLY wants!”
People started saying this one, too:
“Revere the Emperor, expel the Barbarians!”
The political meaning was twofold: 1) fuck Perry and the Euro colonists, and 2) fuck the Shogun! But since you couldn’t directly say “Fuck the Shogun,” they wrapped themselves in the flag by saying “Revere the Emperor! . . . instead of you-know-who (wink, wink)”
Long after the Shogun got ass-out, Sonou Joi continued to be a right-wing crowd-pleaser . . . right up until the barbarians burned down several cities, at which point the new slogan, “Hey GI! You want to meet my sister?" gained popularity.
My man Komei ( 孝明天皇 ) was the Emperor at that time, and wrote a rad poem that goes like:
“Perish my body neath the cold clear wave of some dark well, but let no foreign foot pollute the water with its presence here.”
Anyone got the Japanese version????? Please email me if you got it!!!
Also, in March 1863, Komei busted out with his Order to expel barbarians
Which was funny – he was a figurehead, he had no business giving orders. Just another way that the Shogun lost face. Long story short, there was a civil war between the Shogun and the anti-shogun factions (ironically, in spite of their liberal use of the b-word, the anti-Shogun guys were the pro-free-trade guys! It was the Shogun that cut off Japan from the rest of the world!) The rebels demonstrated their pro-barbarian side by free-trading lots of rifles from China, and that's how the Shogun got his ass overthrown.
The post-civil-war era was called the Meiji Restoration (Meiji was the new Emperor, and the spin was “We only took over the country to protect Mr. Meiji, not for us!”) The slogan of the Meiji era was- "rich country, strong military,” 富国強兵(FUKOKU KYOUHEI) : which should give you some idea.
But now, the victorious coalition of warlords and businessmen had a problem: they’d installed the Emperor Meiji as a figurehead. But it’s hard to be an effective figurehead when the general public has totally forgotten about Emperors! (The Emperors had spent the past 800 years totally out of the public eye because they (the Emperors) were nothing but hostages: whichever Shogun captured the Emperor and holed him up in some courtyard, got to be the top dog.)
The common people totally were down with Shinto, though, so in order to legitimize the new Emperor (and the New Order he represented) the behind-the-scenes guys invented a new twist on Shinto shrines: the HOUANDEN (奉安殿) – One of the first PR Blitzes in history . . .Basically a HOUANDEN is a portable shrine with a big-ass photo of the Emperor inside it. Many of them were made, and they were taken around the country like a traveling road-show, to every one-horse town, to raise awareness of Meiji (and associate it with Shintoism in the bargain): any criticism of the government is a criticism of the Emperor , which is in turn a criticism of Shinto, and then the Yakuza or the Genyosha or the Tokko shows up at your house.
Shortly after the Meiji Restoration, various secret societies started popping up, such as. . .
The Black Ocean society, 玄洋者 (Genyosha)
Genyosha was in many ways like the Mafia, the CIA, and the Illuminati combined. They were a secret society, who did terrorist and gangster stuff, but with a very patriotic, pro-government ideology.
Q.“Like the old CIA guys that no one knows if they are “retired” or not, but they for some reason are always are starting front companies in little countries where there is a civil war or an oil pipeline about to be built??”
A. “Yeah, exactly.”
I don’t know too much about Genyosha, they wanted a Japanese Empire all across Asia. — but they weren’t Army dudes. They were ex-samurai. They’d make front companies in Korea or China, and spy on people and shit, and then pass that information on to the “official” army when time came to invade. Until then, they’d make money in Asian countries by running brothels, blackmail, and dope. Another way they helped was to give money and arms to Chinese and Korean extremists that wanted to overthrow their OWN governments. Back in Japan, the Genyosha could be counted on to assassinate liberal politicians. In classic Illumiati/KKK fashion, many prominent politicians were not-so-secretly members. But the most influential member was Toyama Mitsuru.
The Black Dragon society was run by someone called Uchida, at the same time. They were Burger King to Genyosha’s Coke. And there were plenty of Wendy’s, Arbys and White Castle societies as well.
part two – 1900-1930: MILITARY WARS AND SHIT
The Meiji government also had politicians and a constitution (known as 'rikkensei' ( 立憲制 ) and votes and shit, but as far as I can tell, it was kind of a sham. The other main phenomenon of the Meiji era was zaibatsu 財閥 (literally: manufacturing cliques) — in other words “big business.” See, since the free-trade guys won the civil war, the Meji-era capitalists made madd money, formed huge monopolies, and basically bought the government wholesale. It was a tough time to be a politician: if you didn’t get corrupted by the zaibatsu, you’d get assassinated by one of the many secret societies. Frankly, I don’t know why the anti-Shogun faction even bothered with politicians! They already had the Emperor for window-dressing.
Anyway, some dudes wanted a full-on military dictatorship, with no constitution and voting, and a big effin’ war right now! There were hella conspiracies and factions, but it all boiled down to 2 competing ideologies: pro-zaibatsu military-dictatorship guys (called the control group, or 統制派 (TOUseiha)) and anti-zaibatsu military-dictatorship guys. (called Showa Restoration ( 昭和維新 showa ishin ))
KITA IKKI (北 一輝)was the Marx of the Showa Restoration revolution! The idea man behind the muscle.
Basically he was looking around in the ‘20s and saw that Japan was getting looted by the zaibatsu, corrupt politicians, and the wily beuracrats of the Imperial Court entourage (Since the beginning of history, entourages have been some powerful motherfuckers — they’re not like the butler or some shit! They write the Emperor’s schedule. If you piss off his lead secretary, your meeting gets erased. Better buy that guy a castle!)
Anyway, being a stout right-winger, Ikki was all for the powerful leading the weak, but shit had gone too far. Like 2008 America, the rich were looting so much shit from the poor, with no long-term plan to it, so the country was on the verge of economic collapse. Since Russia (next door) had just gone commie 10 years before, it didn’t take a genius to see what would happen to Japan if there was a collapse. So my man sat down and wrote “National Polity and Pure Socialism” ( 国体論及び純正社会主義 , Kokutai ron oyobi junsei shakai shugi) in 1908 and “An Outline Plan for the Reorganization of Japan” ( 日本改造法案大綱 Nihon Kaizo Hoan Taiko) in 1928.
Ikii’s program was popular because it synthesized the two main trends of the day:
1) state socialism (abolishing parliament, tearing up the constitution, military dictatorship (boo!!) nationalizing major industries, destroying the corrupt corporation-politician-imperial entourage cliques, limits to how much shit one person could own, and land reform to save the poor farmers (yay!))
2) “Asian nationalism”: taking Asia back from White colonialists (and giving it all to the Japanese!)
Together, these two ideas made up the basis for the Showa Restoration.
So! If Ikki was the brains, who was the muscle of the Showa Restoration?
建国会 — Kenkoku-kai – The association of the founding of the nation.
Kenkokukai was really big on Pan-Asianism, and sticking it to Whitey.
They were really wild — they were totally for taking shit away from the rich (filthy parasites!) but they also worked with the police as head-smashers and strike-breakers (filthy communists!). I still can’t understand that, but I guess they were like socialists, but instead of “take from the rich and give to the poor,” they were like, “Take from the rich and give to the Emperor.” Or some shit.
桜会 ( Sakurakai) means “Cherry Blossom society” Unlike the Kenkokukai, Sakurakai was a secret clique of Army dudes. The Army was the one part of government that the zaibatsu hadn’t bought, so that’s why the Army guys figured they’d be the best rulers. People were starving, selling their daughters to pay rent on the rice paddy owned by some piece-of-shit landlord brother-in-law of a politician. So despite being rabid anti-communists, the SAKURAKAI also wanted to help the poor people of Japan. They led a failed coup.
皇道派 ( Koudouha) — the Imperial Way Faction
The Koudouha were basically SAKURAKAI PART TWO : YET ANOTHER young-and-pissed Army guy coup attempt that ALSO failed. (their coup is called the February 1936 incident （３６年 2 月事件 ) — That ‘incident’ was basically the main battle of Showa Restoration movement, and when they lost, it was over.
尊皇討奸 — (SONOUTOUKAN)
“ Revere the emperor, destroy the traitors!”
Sonoutoukan was the official slogan of the Imperial Way faction – besides being really kick-ass, it shows that the coup was basically a right-wing vs. right-wing battle, with both sides wrapping themselves in the flag and declaring the other side a traitor to Hirohito! To add to the irony, post-war right-wingers (the black-truck guys, who are PRO big-business and pro-corruption) would shout the same slogan as they attacked their enemies!
Anyway, both of these factions — and a few others — tried to implement Showa Restoration-style revolution and half-failed, half-succeeded: They failed to get rid of the decadent corruption, but they succeeded in setting the groundwork for a military dictatorship . . . under the control of their enemies, the CONTROL GROUP! A sort of worst-of-both-worlds scenario.
So who were all these -Kais fighting against?Good question.
統制派 (Touseiha) Control GROUP
Control Group was the victor of the army’s civil war. General Tojo was the most famous member. TOUSEIHA were pro-zaibatsu, and against the radical reforms of the Showa-restoration crowd. In other words, THEIR military dictatorship conspiracy was MODERATE. For the times, son, for the times. Anyway, these guys won control of the Emperor in the end. Next stop: Manchuria!
1931 – 1945
part 3: PROPAGANDA: SETTING THE STAGE FOR 第二次世界大戦（ WWII ）
陛下 — HEIKA
“His majesty”. As in,
天皇陛下万歳 TENNOU HEIKA BANZAI!
Which was the number-one thing to say as you charged into battle. “For God and country!!” kind of thing.
akitsumikami ( 現御神 ) the Shinto concept of “divinity in human form” — basically it’s the technical term for “The Emperor is a god so fuck what you heard.” Macarthur made Hirohito get on the radio and disavow akitsumikami . . . but didn’t make him get a day job. Akitsumikami leads to a lot of other beliefs:
皇国史観 (KOUKOKU SHIKAN) — quoting my dictionary now: “The historical view that Japan is peerless as a country under the eternal erign of a ceaseless line of “living –god” emperors.”
A related concept is saisei itchi ( 祭政一致 "unity of religion and government") Speaking of which . .
国家神道 ( kokka shintou) State Shintoism. — the Japanese theocracy.
Holy war: 聖戦 (SEISEN)
Because the Emperor was descended from the Gods, of course.
八紘一宇 (HAKKO ICHIU) literally "eight cords, one roof" or more poetically, "all the world under one roof.” Usually right-wingers like Shinto (since that’s the religion that declared that the Emperor is divine) but in this case, Buddhism is invoked. The logic goes something like this: Buddha says that all the world is one, and we Japanese believe that the Emperor is the center of the world, so clearly Buddha wants us to take over that shit. A sort of Japanese version of “manifest destiny” (i.e. “We’re not militaristic people at heart, but God gave us the duty to civilize the less fortunate countries around us!”) So how did they put HAKKO ICHIU into practice, you ask– Behold!!!
大東亜共栄圏 (Daitoua Kyoueiken) ; The greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
This was the unwieldly name of Japan’s goal in WWII: to take over China, Thailand, Phillipines, Korea, etc. Officially, the goal was “to liberate Asia from white-people imperialism.” As you might expect, the massive and wily “We’ve come to liberate you guys!” PR campaign made those countries very easy to take over!!! The reality was that the Control Group and their zaibatsu friends’ make-the-rich-richer economic policies had bled Japan dry, and they needed some loot.
An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus ( 大和民族を中核とする世界政策の検討 , Yamato Minzoku o Ch–kaku to suru Sekai Seisaku no Kent– —)
Another wartime document, this one was Super Top Secret. Behind the pan-Asian-unity PR campaign, this book explained the way Japan’s leaders REALLY thank, I mean thunk: “Science just proved we are superior to all other Asians.”
If you want to know about WWII, you got to know the Manchurian incident!( Manshujihen : 満州事変 ) — It was a big propaganda move that started Japan’s conquest of Asia. In 1932, Japan blew up some of their own shit that was in China, railways and shit, then blamed it on the Chinese, and promptly invaded. Like the U.S. did with the Gulf of Tonklin. Sure, it was a total lie, but that's the rad thing about holy wars: no one cares!
The"The Path of Subjects" ( 臣民の道, Shinmin no Michi)
A classic piece of WWII propaganda: distributed to students by the Education Ministry, it was intended to be a Bible for submissive drones. Chock-full of great lines like, “It’s great to serve the Emperor! Acting in my own self-interest is decadent and selfish Westernism! Death before dishonor! ” Actually, I’m just guessing. Anyone out there got a copy??
Imperial Rescript on Education( 教育ニ関スル勅語 Ky–iku ni Kansuru Chokugo ) was more propaganda, issued to students, who were required to ritually recite its oath to "offer yourselves courageously to the State" as well as protect the Imperial family. Basically it was like the Pledge of Allegiance, if you changed “one country under God,” to “Dying for the Emperor is more fun than Playstation!”
倶ニ遵守スヘキ所 之ヲ古今ニ通シテ謬ラス之ヲ中外ニ施シテ悖ラス朕爾臣民ト倶ニ拳々 服膺シテ
咸其德ヲ一ニセンコトヲ庶幾フ 明治二十三年十月三十日 御名御璽
Translation – Imperial Rescript on Education of the Emperor Meiji:
Know ye, Our subjects:
Our Imperial Ancestors have founded Our Empire on a basis broad and everlasting and have deeply and firmly implanted virtue; Our subjects ever united in loyalty and filial piety have from generation to generation illustrated the beauty thereof. This is the glory of the fundamental character of Our Empire, and herein also lies the source of Our education.
Ye, Our subjects, be filial to your parents, affectionate to your brothers and sisters; as husbands and wives be harmonious, as friends true; bear yourselves in modesty and moderation; extend your benevolence to all; pursue learning and cultivate arts, and thereby develop intellectual faculties and perfect moral powers; furthermore advance public good and promote common interests; always respect the Constitution and observe the laws; should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State; and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth.
So shall ye not only be Our good and faithful subjects, but render illustrious the best traditions of your forefathers. The Way here set forth is indeed the teaching bequeathed by Our Imperial Ancestors, to be observed alike by Their Descendants and the subjects, infallible for all ages and true in all places.It is Our wish to lay it to heart in all reverence, in common with you, Our subjects, that we may thus attain to the same virtue.
The 30th day of the 10th month of the 23rd year of Meiji.
(October 30, 1890)
There was another, related document:
the Imperial Rescript to Soldiers and Sailors ( 軍人勅諭 Gunjin Chokuyu )
Full text of Japanese version here:
UPDATE: scored an english version:
Imperial Rescript for Soldiers and Sailors (1882), translation from Imperial Precepts (undated) as cited in Tsunoda, et al. Sources of Japanese Tradition II (Columbia University Press, 1958): 198-200.
…Soldiers and Sailors, We are your supreme Commander-in-Chief. Our relations with your will be most intimate when We rely upon you as Our limbs and you look up to Us as your head. Whether We are able to guard the Empire, and so prove Ourself worthy of Heaven’s blessings and repay the benevolence of Our Ancestors, depends upon the faithful discharge of your duties as soldiers and sailors. If the majesty and power of Our Empire be impaired, do you share with Us the sorrow; if the glory of Our arms shine resplendent, We will share with you the honor. If you all do your duty, and being one with Us in spirit do your utmost for the protection of the state, Our people will long enjoy the blessings of peace, and the might and dignity of Our Empire will shine in the world. As We thus expect much of you, Soldiers and Sailors, We give you the following precepts:
I. The soldier and sailor should consider loyalty their essential duty. Who that is born in this land can be wanting in the spirit of grateful service to it? No soldier or sailor, especially, can be considered efficient unless this spirit be strong within him. A soldier or a sailor in whom this spirit is not strong, however skilled in art or proficient in science, is a mere puppet; and a body of soldiers or sailors wanting in loyalty, however well ordered and disciplined it may be, is in an emergency no better than a rabble. Remember that, as the protection of the state and the maintenance of its power depend upon the strength of its arms, the growth or decline of this strength must affect the nation’s destiny for good or for evil; therefore neither be led astray by current opinions nor meddle in politics, but with single heart fulfill your essential duty of loyalty, and bear in mind that duty is weightier than a mountain, while death is lighter than a feather. Never by failing in moral principle fall into disgrace an bring dishonor upon your name.
The second article concerns the respect due to superiors and considerations to be shown inferiors.
3. The soldier and the sailor should esteem valor …. To be incited by mere impetuosity to violent action cannot be called true valor. The soldier and the sailor should have sound discrimination of right and wrong, cultivate self-possession, and form their plans with deliberation. Never to despise an inferior enemy or fear a superior, but to do one’s duty as soldier or sailor—this is true valor. Those who thus appreciate true valor should in their daily intercourse set gentleness first and aim to win the love and esteem of others. If you affect valor and act with violence, the world will in the end detest you and look upon you as wild beasts. Of this you should take heed.
4. The soldier and the sailor should highly value faithfulness and righteousness.…Faithfulness implies the keeping of one’s word, and righteousness the fulfillment of one’s duty. If then you wish to be faithful and righteous in any thing, your must carefully consider at the outset whether you can accomplish it or not. If you thoughtlessly agree to do something that is vague in its nature and bind yourself to unwise obligations, and then try to prove yourself faithful and righteous, your may find yourself in great straits from which there is no escape….Ever since ancient times there have been repeated instances of great men and heroes who, overwhelmed by misfortune, have perished and left a tarnished name to posterity, simply because in their effort to be faithful in small matters they failed to discern right and wrong with reference to fundamental principles, or because, losing sight of the true path of public duty, they kept faith in private relations. You should, then, take serious warning by these examples.
5. The soldier and sailor should make simplicity their aim. If you do not make simplicity your aim, you will become effeminate and frivolous and acquire fondness for luxurious and extravagant ways; you will finally grow selfish and sordid and sink to the last degree of baseness, so that neither loyalty nor valor will avail to save you from the contempt of the world.
These five articles should not be disregarded even for a moment by soldiers and sailors. Now for putting them into practice, the all important thing is sincerity. These five articles are the soul of Our soldiers and sailors, and sincerity is the soul of these articles. If the heart be not sincere, words and deeds, however good, are all mere outward show and can avail nothing. If only the heart be sincere, anything can be accomplished. Moreover these five articles are the “Grand Way” of Heaven and earth and the universal law of humanity, easy to observe and to practice. If you, Soldiers and Sailors, in obedience to Our instruction, will observe and practice these principles and fulfil your duty of grateful service to the country, it will be a source of joy, not to Ourself alone, but to all the people of Japan.
国体 (kokutai): the “national body” or “national essence” — a pretty abstract concept that right-wingers love — it is still a thing today, 60 years after the war. As far as I can see, it means, “Our country is one single ethnic group which is the same as our one government and the government is the same as all our history and religion and traditions.” Therefore – any native Japanese who says, “That politician / cop / corporation / bigot is fucking up!” . . . that person is placing themselves outside the “national body,” of Japan, and according to the logic of KOKUTAI, that person is not just criticizing one corrupt politician, that person is hating on all Japanese people, their traditions, and what’s more, that person is not even Japanese! American right-wingers like Limbaugh, Cheney, O’Reilly, etc. try to pull this kind of stunt, but they’re fuckin’ amateurs compared to the Japanese.
Is another layer of the KOKUTAI cake. It’s a way of saying that 1) all Japanese people are from the same ethnic group (the Yamato), and 2) the government/Emperor is the same as the people, and 3) we are unique and awesome! When a Japanese does something rad, like hit a home run or beat the odds or endure terrible pain without complaint, you can say, “You got the Yamato spirit!” On the other hand, when some jackass in shiny boots wants to whip up some master-race violence, guess what catch-phrase they use– Yamato-damashii was around for hundreds of years, but not a lot of people used it until WWII, when it was kind of a trend.
From the insane documentary “Japanese Devils: WWII Veterans confess their war-crimes,” here is the ritual farewell speech that a new soldier gives to his parents:
これ は さいご の わかれ です。 （ bows ）
かえる つもり は ございません
This is my last farewell. I have no intention of returning home alive.
My mind is made up, and it’s time for me to go. Episode 5, 0:53
PART 4 : THE BATTLEFIELD
皇軍 (KOUGUN) — The imperial army. Because it was following the divine, inffaliable Emperor’s orders, everything it did was therefore OK. It could do anything without fear or guilt. For example . . . .
Here’s a WWII veteran, explaining the reason for his enthusiasm re: mass execution of civilians:
天皇にたいする忠義であった。 (Tennnou ni taisuru CHUUGI deatta. )
It proved your loyalty to the Emperor.
名誉であったわけだ！ (Meiyo de atta wakeda.)
So, it was an honor!
If you’re feeling militant, you can make a command out of it like this:
天皇にたいして忠義しろ！ (TENNOUNITAISHITE CHUUGISHIRO!)
Prove your loyalty to the Emperor!!!
Besides “Tennou heika banzai!” The other battle cry was:
Charge!! = 突撃！！！ TOTSUGEKI!
Or, during executions of random Chinese civilians, the commander would shout:
つくえ！！ (tsukueehh) (lit. ‘run him through!’) used when giving the order to bayonet prisoners tied to stakes.
Or, less formally,
適当にしませ～ (TEKITOU NI SHIMASEE!) “Do with them as you see fit.”
黒太陽 （ kurotaiyou ） “black sun.” A reference to the hidden side of the “rising sun” of Japan, the Black Sun referred to all the secret military stuff. Such as:
謀略部隊 (BOURYAKU BUTAI) (special forces) –they’d pose as Chinese, civilians or guerillas – infiltrate villages, take the food and beds offered by the grateful locals, then wait until night and poison wells, and murder old men in their sleep. This was was all in the context of, “We can’t find the Chinese soldiers but we’ll punish their family.”
閻魔大王 — (ENMADAIOU) : “THE KING OF HELL”
This was the nickname of Nagatomi Hakudo, a major Japanese war criminal put on trial in China.
He commanded the 特情報工作隊 TOKUJOUHOU KOUSAKUTAI (“special plot information unit”) — which was like a more aggro Special Forces unit — going into uncharted zones and destroying anything that the Chinese army could possibly use — people, houses, animals, anything.
爾来踏みをさせる。 JIRAI FUMI WO SASERU.
The “Human minesweepers” — the strategy of forcing Chinese laborers to walk through minefields ahead of Japanese troops.
燼滅作戦 Jinmetsu Sakusen (lit. Burn to Ash Strategy). This was the genocidal strategy adopted by the Japanese midway through the war. The Chinese called it the THREE ALLS POLICY. : kill all, burn all, loot all. Confusingly, the Japanese started calling it by the Chinese nickname, too: 三光作戦 , Sank– Sakusen; – (the three alls strategy). And this prompted some right-wing scholars to insist that the strategy was used by the Chinese against the Japanese, and not the other way around. BTW the way to say ”kill all, burn all, loot all” in Japanese is, according to one veteran,
KOROSHI TSUKUSHI, YAKI TSUKUSHI, UBAI TSUKUSU.
慰問 IMON (entertainment) 慰問団 IMONDAN (the entertainment committee)
The term for raping Chinese village women and then executing them by turning their vaginas into Molotov cocktails. They would literally stuff cloth inside and then douse it with gasoline, and light it in the middle of the village square. This would typically happen when the village men turned geurilla and were hiding in the hills, the Japanese would take revenge on the townspeople.
強制連行 kyousei renkou — “compulsory seizure” — the importing of slaves to Japan. During the 強制連行作戦 kyousei renkou sakusen ( compulsory seizure campaign) 39,000 Asians were taken to Japan for forced labor, and around 7,000 died there. Even those that stayed in remained behind after they were freed . . .to this day their descendants are — not surprisingly — discriminated against and looked at as foreigners who should go back home, rather than ex-slaves who are owed an apology. Sound familiar??
Here are some questions I have: Is there a term for families of ex-slaves?? Are they just regularly discriminated against or is there specific legal rights that they don’t have??
小麦 (we couldn’t hear the actual word but for now let’s say 略奪 ryakudatsu) 作戦 さくせん KOMUGI RYAKUDATSU SAKUSEN :
The Japanese Devils movie translates it as “Wheat gathering mission,” which means stealing wheat from starving Chinese, door to door. What makes this exceptional is that it was done with office managers from the Mitsui and Mitsubishi corporations walking around the Chinese villages right beside the troops, supervising them, and the wheat went directly to those companies. Who of course are still trading pretty high on the Nikkei today!
7 ３１部隊 － — Unit 731 and its leader, shiro ishii — 石井四郎.
these guys were the Japanese version of JOSEPH MENEGELE, THE ANGEL OF DEATH. Unit 731 did nothing but atrocities on helpless prisoners of war, but after the war, the criminals didn't get hunted down by Ellie Wiesel, instead they went from the prison to the corporate boardrooms of various pharmecutical companies! while regular soldiers were in Sugamo prison, the 731 guys were giving medical secrets to the CIA in exchange for immunity. Like for some reason the CIA really needed to know "can people survive with their liver and stomach amputated–" In fact, nothing was even mentioned about 731 during the war crimes trials. Anyway, after the war, boss-man Shiro Ishii got a job as president of GREEN CROSS, the Japanese blood bank. . . which gave like 2000 people aids in the '80s! And of course, pointing out that putting Dr. Vivisection in charge of your blood supply is OF COURSE going to lead to carnage, means you get nailed with a KOKUTAI charge (You’re outside the “national body,” see above.)
丸太 — (danmaru)(log) unit 731 slang for a vivisection victim. “How many logs did you fell today–” “I felled two logs!” “I felled three!”
碇挺身隊 (IKARI TEISHINTAI) (Ikari was the name of the commander) teishin means “to risk your life and limb” and “tai” means Unit. In other words, Ikari teishintai was a fuckin’ KAMIKAZE SUICIDE GERM WARFARE UNIT whose job it was to pry the lids off of fuckin’ 50 gallon drums of pure typhus and dump’em in rivers to poison Russians and Chinese. Can you even imagine 50 gallons of pure germs– Holy fuck that is insane — and this wasn’t even at the end of the war when Japan was desperate. This was at the beginning! They were just getting warmed up when they came up with this one!!!!!. This is definitely my favorite of the Black Sun programs.
Incidentally, here's how you say germ warfare: 細菌戦 (SAIKINSEN)
手術演習 SHUJUTSU ENSHUU (lit: “surgical practice”)
Besides the infamous Unit 731, vivisection of Chinese prisoners — soldiers and civilians alike — was common. In Shan Xi province, more experienced doctors would order interns to perform operations on living Chinese until the Chinese died. However, since there was no incentive to do operations properly, it’s doubtful that the interns learned anything. Sometimes the secret police would shoot the Chinese a couple of times in the arm or body, so the Japanese doctors could practice treating bullet wounds. Should the trainee doctors somehow manage to do it correctly and save the prisoner’s life, he would be executed.
The FBI to the kempeitai’s CIA was . . .
Special Higher Police ( 特別高等警察 Tokubetsu Koutou Keisatsu), often shortened to Tokk– ( 特高 The Tokkou was also known as the “Peace Police” ( 治安 警察 ,Chian Keisatsu), or more notoriously by the Orwellian term “Thought Police” ( 思想 警察, Shiso Keisatsu). The TOKKO were the guys that had an informer on every block in the city.
Great Japan Imperial Rule Assistance Youth Corps ( 翼賛青年団 Yokusan Shonendan), Was formed in 1942 as a sort of Anime Hitler Youth. I have no idea what the Yokusan Shonendan did, but it would be a rad thing to write on a t-shirt.
The forcible removal of Asians to Japan to work as labourers is usually referred to as kyôsei renkô (強制連行).
PART 5 : OH SHIIIIIII
特攻隊 （ tokkoutai ）
A marvel of Japanese politeness, the literal meaning is: “Special attack unit.” In other words, a suicide squadron! The most famous of which is, the
神風特攻隊 — kamikaze tokkoutai.
特攻隊精神 － TOKKOUTAI SEISHIN
To have the Kamikaze spirit.
Another really polite, poetic phrase: “smashing the precious jewel.” It means “death before dishonor.” Literally — kill yourself if the Americans land on our soil: A popular rally-cry in the closing days of WWII. Weird how Japanese gets more polite the more extreme it gets!
一億玉砕 — Ichioku gyokusai -lit. hundred million gems shatter. One of Hirohito’s more petulant maxims, it means more like, “ Everyone in the country should die with me and my pals!” This is the guy the right-wingers want to worship. . .
集団自決： JUUDAN JIKETSU
Another doozy of Japanese euphemism — “the group of people decides by itself.” What do they decide– To do a mass suicide because the American Army has arrived in Japan. This is controversial because it now looks like a lot of these juudan jiketsu groups were a little less “decided by itself,” and more “decided by the Japanese Army.” Survivors report that Japan Army guys with guns and knives would order civilians to ‘do the honorable thing.‘ Then the post-war government builds a monument to these martyrs with a plaque saying, “ America, see what you made us do!!”
皇國 死守 ( KOUKOKU SHISSHU ) — Another end-of-the-war catchphrase: “imperial country, fight to death!!!!” If you leave off the final kanji, it means “Dead Empire,” which would be a rad name for a hardcore band. Someone get on this.
General Tojo, not to be outdone by Hirohito, had his OWN slogan durring the losing days of the war:
“Know not the shame of being taken prisoner.”
生きて 虜囚 の辱 を 受けず
Ikite ryoshuu no hazukashime wo ukezu.
親子心中 — Oyako-shinju – One of Hirohito's more morbid ideas, the parent-child death pact. Otherwise known as, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" One can imagine this man, sitting in his bunker, drinking sake and writing little suicide notes for other people.
金のゆり Kin no yuri — golden lily. This was the name for Hirohito's plan to secretly transport stolen gold out of Asia. When Japan started losing the war, they didn’t have time to truck it all back to Nippon, so some gold was hidden in the Philipines. But that’s another story.
天の丸： TENNO MARU — the fake hospital ship that Hirohito had designated to smuggle Asian gold into Tokyo at the end of the war. It was deliberately scuttled in Tokyo Bay at a pre-marked position, and all the crew murdered to keep the location secret. They came back after Macarthur left to salvage the gold.
NACHII- same thing, but in Manila Bay!
Finally, here’s the source of that famous “We must endure the unendurable” quote:
Gyokuon-housou ( 玉音放送 ),
O THE SUBJECTS OF JAPAN
After examining Japan's current situation and condition, I have decided to take extraordinary measures. I have ordered our government to inform the governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Japan will surrender.
It is the role of the Emperor to strive for prosperity and happiness throughout the world, and for the security and well-being of the Japanese people. I declared war on America and Great Britain to protect the Japanese people and to bring peace and stability to the East Asian region. I did not declare war to infringe on the rights of other nations, or to expand Japanese territory.
This war has now lasted four years, and despite the best efforts of the military, the government and the Japanese people, this war has not been successful for Japan. The enemy now possesses a new and terrible weapon with the power to destroy many innocent lives and do incalculable damage. If we continue to fight this war, this weapon will destroy the Japanese nation and bring about the total extinction of the human race.
As a result, I have no way to save the millions of Japanese citizens other than to surrender.
I express my deepest regret to our allies in East Asia who have worked hard with us to achieve freedom in this region. I am pained by the thought of the officers who died in service to Japan, and their bereaved families. My greatest concern is for the welfare of the wounded and for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.
The road ahead for Japan will be very difficult and I am aware that many Japanese will feel dishonoured. However due to the current situation, I have resolved that there is no option but to work to achieve peace for all the generations to come. To do this I must endure the unendurable.
To maintain the structure of the Japanese nation, I am working for you, and I am relying on the sincerity and goodwill of the Japanese people. I ask you to remain calm and to refrain from fighting with your fellow citizens, so that we do not lose the confidence of the world.
Let the Japanese people work together as one family for the future, confident that the Japanese nation will endure, but also aware of the heavy responsibilities and the difficult road ahead. Work together to rebuild the nation for the future, so that we may keep pace with the world.
1946 — PRESENT: FIGHTING THE COMMIES!
右翼 — Uyoku – literally, "right" plus "wing." . . . the black-truck-yelling guys. Japan times has a great series on them here–part one , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 . part 5 , and the uyoku photo gallery. Also, can't forget the ,japanese nationalist portal page is here, in english.
宣伝カー — Senden ka – "propaganda car" the famous black trucks used by uyoku.
靖国神社 — Yasukuni shrine– short of wearing your shoes inside, Yasukuni is the easiest way to get into an argument here. And now I am going to reveal the big secret. . . . the big secret of Yasukuni is, THERE IS NOBODY EVEN BURIED THERE. In Shinto, a shrine like that is just a place where ghosts hang out. All this international anger over empty symbols.
Long story short, the ghosts of the good guys (pro-contact-with-the-rest-of-the-world Japanese who died fighting against the isolationist, feudal system) reside in the same shrine as the ghosts of the bad guys (world war two assholes who impaled chinese women on spikes and made the pregnant women watch as they cut their babies out of their bellies). So the emperor can't choose which ones he prays to, he has to pray to all of them or none. Japanese people are like, why won't the rest of the world let us practice our religion– But on the other hand, president Bush could go to the graves of the Enola Gay pilots and pray. I mean he could do that every weekend. But he doesn't. I wonder why??
日本遺族会 — Nippon izokukai – the "association of families of japan's war dead", a lobbying group responsible for the Prime Minister’s yearly visits to the yasukuni shrine.
公式参拝する KOUSHIKI SANPAI SURU:
Means, an official visit of the Prime Minister, to pray for the dead at Yasukuni.
The banners that the Nippon Isokukai waves, turns it into a command like so:
公式参拝せよ！ KOUSHIKI SANPAI SEYO!
And here’s another good slogan of theirs 戦没者顕彰 (SENBOTSUSHAKENSHOU)
REVERE OUR WAR DEAD!
August 15 th is the anniversary of Japan’s surrender — it’s also a major day for Uyoku, when they go to Yasukuni to give gratitude to the war dead. Not the only uyoku thing at Yasukuni.
ごうし : GOUSHI
The technical Shinto term — one most Japanese don’t know — for taking a dead soldier’s soul and plopping it into a Shinto shrine so the deceased can become one with the divine, and become honored , Valhalla-style, as a sort of war god. This is controversial because some families feel that their dead husbands or fathers died were forced to fight and die in a bullshit war, because of Shinto militarism. (literally, INUSHI – 犬シー to die a dog’s death). So some families feel that it’s a sort of double-loss: first Shinto takes the life of the father, then it takes his soul in the bargain! It’s like using the dead soldiers as propaganda to support precisely the same system that killed them!
Literally, “The Reign of our Lord,” this is the National Anthem. Critics point out that Nazi Germany had the good manners to change ITS anthem after the war. Proponents point out that the lyrics are about moss, so who gives a shit– Kimi Ga Yo’s association with WWII makes it easily the most booooring controversy in modern Japan’s culture wars. In any case, at many public events, standing and singing it are compulsory.
Kimi ga Yo wa
Chiyo ni Yachiyo ni
Iwao to Nari-te
Koke no Musu made
May your reign
Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss
友軍： YUUGUN (friendly forces) —
People from Okinawa don’t think of the Japanese army as “our army,” but instead think of them as “friendly forces” (i.e. occupiers, in the sense that all the USA troops stationed in Okinawa are also friendly forces).
吐血 Toketsu 下血 geketsu
Vomiting blood / rectal bleeding.
According to the book REALM OF A DYING EMPEROR, these medical words weren’t known to most regular Japanese until 1988, when Hirohito started to die, and Japanese newspapers wrote daily articles on his condition.
崩御 – HOUGYO (literally, collapse honorably)
This is a Shinto-y word for “to die” that is only used about the Emperor’s death, since according to Shinto, he’s the only person who is divine in that way. Whether a newspaper uses hougyo or the regular expression 死ぬ is a political decision that can have violent repercussions.
自粛 — jishuku
“self-restraint” : what Japanese people are asked to do by the government, especially when it comes to having opinions about WWII. See also. . .
“the chrysanthemum taboo” : the Chrysanthemum is the special symbol of the Emperor, and the chrysanthemum taboo is a Western phrase used to describe the web of legal, social, and yakuza pressure that keeps Japanese from saying things about the Emperor like “Maybe he knew there was a Second World War.”
If you put it in Japanese, it’s: 菊のタブー , although no one will know what you mean. It’s strictly an English phrase — apparently Japanese don’t even realize that there IS a taboo.
APPENDIX A :RACIALLY YOURS:
野蛮人 — barbarian i.e. foreigner.
When was this word used?? I have no idea, but it's a classic.
南蛮：なんばん : literally 'the southern barbarians,' which almost always refers to Southeast Asians, as well as . . .Portugese traders? Well, no one said that bigots were logical.
毛唐 ketou — hairy barbarian. Originally used on Chinese, but later used on Europeans, when it was discovered that Euros were even harier.
ちゃんころ (chankoro) – What Japanese army guys called Chinese:
鬼畜米英： (KICHIKUBEIEI) What Japanese army guys called the Allies (lit: demon beast Americans and Englishmen!)
日本鬼子 (riben guizi i.e., " Japanese devil").- the Chinese word for Japanese soldiers.
黒んぼー kuronba : the N-bomb.
ジャッパ専 (jappasen) -Foreigner with a fetish for Japanese.
Hiijaamii: goat eyes.
The nickname that Okinawans gave to American soldiers, because Americans stopped bombing when the sun went down, and Okinawans thought that goats couldn’t see in the dark.
三国人 Sangokujin — another good word to insult foreigners with.. but. . . Which three countries? China, South Korea and North Korea! But feel free to use it about all foreigners – Japanese politicians do!
The Yamato Dynasty by Serling and Peggy Seagrave
In the Realm of the Dying Emperor by the marvelously whiney Norma Field.
Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert Bix
Brij Tankha, _Kita Ikki and the Making of Modern Japan (the best book, with a translation of Kita's Reorganization Book)
Ivan Morris, _Nationalism and the Right-Wing in Japan_ (on the postwar, detailed lineage of pre to postwar nationalism)
Tsuchiya Yoshio 土屋芳雄 : a veteran of Manchurian campaign, wrote a book about his war-crimes: われ 地獄 へ 堕ちん （ we have fallen into hell ） (only in Japanese)
JAPANESE DEVILS (riben guizi) – Director: minoru matsui
If you only see one thing on this list, see this video. UPDATE: Fuck, since I started writing this article, they took it off Youtube, at the request of the moviemaker, apparently. Which sucks, because youtube is the only way a Japanese person (the intended audience) is ever gonna be allowed to see the damn thing- it ain't allowed to be sold here! But for those of you . Instead, I'm gonna link to this TORRENT.
CHUUKIREN : 中帰連 an association of Japanese Army veterans of the Chinese campaign. They put out magazines and a website documenting their experience. I’m not sure if it’s all about exposing war crimes, or if that’s just an unintended consequence. Not sure how they are viewed by most vets or the government.
They also are selling a book, where they recount sexual warcrimes:
中国戦線における日本軍の性犯罪 (only in Japanese)
APPENDIX 2: HELP MEEEE!!!!
I'm trying to make this glossary more complete. If anyone knows how to get the following information, please email me ( tokyodamage (at) mail.goo.ne.jp )
The Japense version of Emperor Komei's "Don't let the barbarians pollute our well" poem
A copy of the "Way of the Subject" book
For those who have a copy of "Japanese Devils," can anyone write down (in Japanese) what the guy is saying when he talks about "Strict Disposal" (around ten minutes in) or when the other guy talks about the ritual farewell new soldiers give to their parents (around 15 or 20 minutes in)? Neither I nor my Japanese friends can comprehend the old soldier's speech – it's like the equivalent of a 95 year old guy from deepest Alabama or the swamps of Tennesee.